6 Footprints and 10 Issues That Can Get Your Blog Deindexed

LAST UPDATE: March 2019

Since the large majority of daily deindexations we see on our platform would be easily avoided by following basic rules for PBNs, we’re thinking it’s a good time to refresh that knowledge.

I categorized everything into two sections – footprints and issues. Footprints are something that can get your blogs deindexed immediately. Issues are something that raises flags and might cause deindexation if there’s more of them.

PBN Footprints


Outbound link patterns. The easiest way to get your blogs deindexed – link from all your PBN blogs to all your money sites and never have any other links.

Whois information. Make sure to not use the same email or physical address on all your domains.

Unique plugins and themes. Don’t use the same combination of plugins on all your blogs. Don’t use the same custom theme on all your blogs.

Make sure your blog loads. You wouldn’t believe how many deindexations there are because of a broken theme and/or misconfigured plugin.

404 redirects to homepage. High number of 301 redirects to homepage from 404 pages will definitely cause deindexation. It does depend on the (crawler) traffic to those 404 pages but we highly recommend rebuilding subpages instead of redirecting.

Google Webmaster Tools, Analytics, Adsense or any other analytics and ad codes. This leaves a very obvious unique code on all your blogs, easily connecting them to one owner.



Themes and plugins with different view for GoogleBot user agent. Google knows the standard response from WordPress themes and plugins. This is explicitly forbidden by Google so avoid it.

Registering domains. Use common registrars, don’t use privacy on more than 20% of all your blogs, don’t buy all domains on the same days or from the same marketplace (if auctions).

Using cheap hosting. Cheap hosting will cause issues with reliability, security and performance. If your blog gets hacked or is down when it gets crawled, it’s going to get deindexed very quickly.

No internal links. Like you see at the bottom of this blog post – link to other posts on your blog.

No social bookmarks, shares or links. Make sure to have at least a few Facebook likes and Retweets on each blog.

Posts only about commercial keywords. Don’t write articles just on commercial keywords you’re 9 . Make sure to have articles on broad topics.

Too few blog posts. Add at least 5 posts in the first week, then post weekly and later, after at least 20 published posts, you can post on a monthly basis.

Too plain blog posts. Don’t just post blocks of text but add images, videos and rich text (italic, bold, headings etc.). Most articles should have from 400 up to 1000 words.

No links to other websites. Not just authority websites but to relevant, small niche websites.

Obvious PBN blog. You know – nothing custom, just a random theme, 5 blocks of text, a few links and that’s it. Try to make someone look for at least 3 seconds before deciding if it’s a PBN blog or not.


These are currently the main footprints and issues we see when analyzing blogs on our platform. If new issues arise, we’ll be the first one to report them.

Additional reading:


  1. Excellent advice. I’m going to go make some adjustments with my analytics. How essential is it to have a diversity of contact info? I have all of mine with a P.O. Box since I want to NOT use my home information. I figured Google would know it was me no matter what.

    • Hey Lara,

      if you have the same P.O. Box on all your domains it can be really problematic. Use your friends’, family’s and other ;) contact info on the domain whois. And you can use the email that EBN gives you so you don’t have the same one.

  2. What about Permalinks? Would you recommend a ratio? Or would you do stuff like /%postname%.html or /%postname%.php?


  3. Dude, like a boss it’s stated like a pro!

    Although, one thing I guess some debate about is spyder spanker.

    Is it worth having the foot print to have SS?


    • Hey Nate,

      plugins do not necessarily leave a footprint – our own Spider Blocker responds to pings like it doesn’t exist (standard 404 error). LinkPrivacy should too, however I do not know SS that well to comment on that.

  4. Nice to finally see someone who knows a few things about footprints!

    Great article Dejan.

  5. What about having domains all in the same registrar account but with different who.is for each domain? Obviously one should switch up registrars but will this be an issue/footprint? Great post thanks.

  6. Hi, With the registrars for example if l had 20 expired domains l need to register them in 20 different registrars
    under different names as well OR can l have 5 different registrars l can register them in them with 5 different persona’s and % of them with whois and % with fake persona’s . would this leave a footprint?

    • You can use 5 registrars and have one account with each of them. All registrars allow you to have different contact details for different domains, because you could be managing domains for a client.

  7. Hi Dejan,

    Thanks for the post. However, one question was bothering me and i didn’t find proper expert advise on that after searching the web for few weeks. The question is, is it fine, if i use different gmail accounts for each domain to install google analytics and webmaster tools. If not, what would be your suggestion, what would be the best way to go ahead about site tracking for PBN blogs.

    Awaiting your valuable advise !! Thanks !!

    • I wouldn’t install Analytics or Webmaster Tools on my PBN blogs. If you need analytics, find a WordPress plugin. I would only add GWT if your site gets deindexed and you want to know why.

  8. Hi Dejan,

    Great Post. Regarding this comment: “It does depend on the (crawler) traffic to those 404 pages but we highly recommend rebuilding subpages instead of redirecting.”

    Have you got any recommendations on how to quickly identify what subpages are missing, so we can rebuild them (Not to keen on browsing through 200 backlinks)?

    Many thanks,

  9. Hi Dejan

    Are the nameservers a strong footprint, I noticed when I am uploading the blog, the nameservers appear to be the same for my blogs so far, how do you get around varying the nameservers of your networks?


    • Hey Patric,

      the first 2-3 blogs might get the same nameservers, however after that you should start getting different ones. At around 10 you should get at the bare minimum 5 different nameservers. If that is not so, contact our support and we’ll take a look.

      And yes, it’s important to have different and even more to have nameservers that other websites are using. We’ve written about this in our latest blog post.

  10. It’s important to not put a lot of links in side-wide. Most of them look unnatural when they are not thematic.

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